A Designer’s Endlessly Versatile Clothes

Growing up in North London, Charlie Constantinou was a serious piano student who aspired to a career as a composer. But when, as a teenager, he landed a part-time job at a sneaker store, he became enamored with avant-garde streetwear by designers such as Jun Takahashi of Undercover and Nasir Mazhar — the latter of whom, like Constantinou, is a member of the city’s tight-knit Cypriot community. Soon, Constantinou was dreaming up a collection of his own. The creative process, says the Tottenham-based 25-year-old, felt surprisingly familiar: “It’s very much about world building; I get the same feeling from composition.” After studying design at London’s Central Saint Martins, he launched his namesake brand in 2022 when the influential retailers Ssense and H. Lorenzo bought pieces from his master’s degree collection. In the short time since, he’s developed a clearly defined style informed by both ancient history (spiral motifs taken from Cypriot ceramics) and futurism (astronaut-style boots), expressed largely through the use of quilted expandable nylon, a high-tech version of the textile that can stretch and contract to a dramatic degree. He’s drawn to the crinkly look of the fabric, and to the fact that it can accommodate a wide variety of body types: Many of his pieces are one size fits all and, while billed as men’s wear, are meant for people of all genders.

Constantinou has been interested in expandable garments since his time at Saint Martins, as seen in his student collaboration with Levi’s. With a goal of combining the brand’s iconic numbered fits (501, 511, 517) into a single garment, he came up with a pair of dark-wash jeans with five vertical zippers running down each leg that, when unzipped, progressively widen the silhouette. He’s since applied that idea to nylon taffeta pants and has designed a number of other adaptable garments, including trousers with removable legs and vests with detachable plackets that transform them from fitted to voluminous. For Constantinou — whose spring collection will include a return to denim and, for the first time, some dedicated women’s wear — the intention is to create the antithesis of throwaway fast fashion: forever pieces that “you can wear in multiple different ways,” he says, “so you’ll never get bored.”

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